Thursday, March 5, 2015

Oven Roasted Tomato Soup

There's something enormously comforting about a bowl of hot soup on a cold winter day. This easy and delicious Oven Roasted Tomato Soup blends the fabulous flavours of fresh basil, garlic, onions and oven roasted tomatoes for a luxuriously smooth soup that's full of rich Italian flavours. Slow roasting caramelizes and intensifies the flavour of the tomatoes, enhances their natural sweetness, and lends extraordinary depth to this hearty and satisfying soup — ideal with a hot grilled cheese sandwich! 

Plum tomatoes are halved and tossed with a mixture of olive oil, salt and pepper 
then placed in one layer on a foil lined baking sheet

Roasted at 400°F for 45 minutes, the tomatoes become soft, lightly caramelized 
with a wonderfully fragrant

Roasted Tomato Soup
Serves 6-8

3 lb ripe plum tomatoes, washed, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-oz can plum tomatoes, with their juice
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
4 cups chicken stock 
1/2 cup heavy cream, optional

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the tomatoes together in a large bowl with 1/4 cup of olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, in one layer on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and lightly caramelized. 

In an large stockpot over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic with two tablespoons of olive oil, butter and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, thyme and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Using a hand immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth and taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold with a little cream if you would like a richer soup.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich 

Serves 6

12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 oz Swiss, Gruyere or Comte cheese, cut into 6 slices
6 oz extra-sharp aged Cheddar, cut into 6 slices
12 slices rosemary sourdough bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick

Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread, the one that will be on the outside of the sandwich. Lay a slice of each cheese on the unbuttered side of one slice. Top with second slice, so that the buttered side faces out. Heat a large frying pan over medium low, and when the pan is hot, cook the sandwiches in batches until golden underneath and the cheese begins to melt, about 2 to 4 minutes. Carefully flip the sandwiches over and cook until it's crisp and golden, pressing down on it with the spatula to encourage it to all come together. Transfer to a plate, cut in half if desired, and serve with Oven Roasted Tomato Soup.